The Shiatsu Massage

Literally translated from Japanese, “Shiatsu” means “finger pressure” and it was incorporated into the Japanese culture approximately 1,500 years ago. Today, the Shiatsu Massage is, in fact, just one out of a large assortment of Japanese massage methods known as Nihon Kaifuku Anma. The Shiatsu Massage is the best known among them all and the one most often used in Japan and elsewhere around the world. It is based on the meridian system passed down from ancient Chinese arts of healing as well as old Japanese teachings. Stated very briefly, meridians are the conduits or energy channels by which gi and blood continually flow through the body.

Any interference with this flow of energy translates in an imbalance within the body which leads to an energy that is either depleted (kyoto) or overactive (jitsu) and symptoms of illness and disease occur. There are twelve major meridians which are directly associated with vital internal organs: kidneys, liver, spleen, heart, lungs, pericardium, bladder, gall bladder, stomach, small and large intestines as well as the body’s temperature regulating system. The Yin (negative) meridians flow upwards while the yang (positive) meridians flow downwards.

Also known as acupressure and quite similar to acupuncture in that the same points are used, the Shiatsu Massage is a technique by which the massage therapist applies pressure, tapping, squeezing, stretching and rubbing of the client’s body by using his or her thumbs, fingers, palms, knuckles, elbows, knees and feet (not needles as in acupuncture) along the meridians to unclog passages in order to get the gi energy to flow optimally. Being a “touch communication” and an effective preventive Eastern medicine, the first and foremost goal of the Shiatsu Massage is to refine and perfect the body’s natural functions before health issues appear rather than after.

The human body, in the Shiatsu philosophy, is viewed as a microcosmic miniature universe within the entire universe and both are reigned over by the five elements (metal, wood, water, fire, earth) and the yin and the yang. In a healthy state of body and mind, no element is dominant over any other element and that is what is to be strived for.

The Shiatsu Massage is performed while the client is wearing loose clothing of natural fibers and reclining on a floor mat. As the treatment works deeply on the entire being, the physiological, psychological, and the spiritual, a variety of reactive emotions may come to the surface and the client may experience bouts of crying, laughing, joyous exclamations or mere stillness. These are all positive signs that the body is amending old energy patterns.

As one might expect, the benefits of the Shiatsu Massage are many but the most commonly recognized are the following:

• Calming of nervousness as well as reducing mental anxiety and depression.

• Improvement of the blood circulation and, with it, the flow of gi and fresh oxygen.

• Lowering high blood pressure and reducing of stress.

• Relaxing deep muscles and other soft tissues (tendons, ligaments, joints, connective tissue and skin).

• Relieving symptomatic aches and pains (headaches, backaches, stiff or pulled muscles and leg cramps) due to stress, overuse, menopause, constipation and so on and on.

Have a Shiatsu Massage and thrive.